When should I drop the 10.30pm feed for my 3.5 month baby?
I would like advice as to when it is appropriate to stop the 10.30pm feed. My daughter who is now 3.5 months old has slept through the night from 9 weeks of age and continues to do so. I find it difficult to know how much milk she gets at 10.30pm and what she still needs. I suspect she only receives a small feed at this time of only 50-100ml as when I express the other side (if she only feeds from one breast) then I only manage to express 40ml (with great difficulty). I have received very conflicting information on this issue and we have considered giving her an expressed bottle at this time just to see how much she gets. I am really quite confused.
My daughter is fully breastfed. She feeds at 7.15am 10-20 mins one side, occasionally both. 11am 10-25 mins breast or 200mls expressed, 2.30pm 10-25 mins breast or 200mls expressed, 6.15pm 15-35 mins breast, both sides or 200 mls expressed. 10.15pm 10-20 mins sometimes both sides. She weighs 15lbs 8ozs.
My daughter naps at 9-9.50am, 12-2.15pm and 3.45-4.30pm
Although you feel that your daughter is only taking a small feed at this time it is much better to keep the 10.30pm feed in place until she is established on solids. The reason Gina recommends this is because between the age of three and four months all babies go through a growth spurt and four feeds a day is rarely enough to meet their needs. You could certainly offer her an expressed feed to see how much she takes but although now it may be no more than 60-100mls, in a week’s time it may be much more. By dropping this 10.30pm feed too soon you may get into the situation of your daughter beginning to wake earlier in the morning because she is hungry. It is much better to keep it in place until you daughter has been weaned and is taking solids twice a day. Your baby will naturally begin to cut back on this feed and then it can be gradually dropped.
There is a case study in The Complete Sleep Guide p 92 which shows how things can go wrong if this feed is dropped too early.